The smartwatch packs a 24-hour battery, activity tracking, and a 7-day training plan.
The RW Takeaway: Smaller and less powerful than the Suunto 9, the new Suunto 5 has an impressive battery and performance for its price.
- Syncs to Suunto Movescount via Suunto App
- Intelligent battery management helps extend life during adventures
- Battery lasts 24 hours in the most accurate mode, 48 hours in “good” (10 second intervals)
Price: $329 BUY NOW
Battery life: 24 hours in GPS mode
Full disclosure, I have the Suunto 9 and LOVE it. After all, it’s the only watch I’ve worn that’s lasted through an entire 100-miler. So when I first opened up the new Suunto 5, I was expecting a lot less watch. After all it’s just over half the price of the 9.
It’s physically smaller, too, with a 45mm watch face. To make things fit, Suunto moved the barometric altimeter to an outboard tab, like earlier Ambit2 models. It’s also a smartwatch in 2019 without a touch screen. But here’s what’s not missing: technology to help you be a better runner.
The Suunto 9 made a splash with its ultra-long battery life—up to 120 hours—while maintaining high accuracy. The Suunto 5 won’t go that long but, with a one-second recording interval and notifications turned on, battery life for the standard run mode lets you run 24 hours without a charge. If you don’t run with heart rate, turning off the optical sensor extends the battery life to 30 hours on the best accuracy setting.
Suunto claims the watch will last up to 14 days in time mode, and up to 7 days with 24/7 tracking and mobile notifications. I used the watch over the past week for light running and sleep tracking as I tapered for a 100-mile trail race and the battery still shows 40 percent. That lines up with what we’ve seen from the similarly-priced Coros Apex, and outpaces the Garmin 245.
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The lack of a touch screen isn’t really an issue. As a runner, buttons are your friend. I actually like this over the 9 because once I get sweaty (and in the rainforest that is a Pennsylvania summer, I get sweaty) I can still easily navigate the watch’s settings. I don’t have to furiously press harder and try to swipe through a layer of my own grossness to back poke through menu options.
The watch picked up GPS signal fast—in the 10 seconds it took me to walk from the door of the office to the sidewalk, it had already acquired a satellite fix. I was ready to run while everyone fired up their watches and adjusted sunglasses.
Suunto is making a hard push toward its mobile app with the 5. The watch won’t upload runs through the supplied USB cable, which is just for updating the firmware. In the app, you can create custom sport modes and choose what metrics are displayed, and wirelessly sync them to the watch. The sync of the 5 is much faster than the 9, and Suunto seems to have ironed out some of the kinks that came with the app’s initial launch.
In the mapping tab, you can also explore heat maps to find popular routes in your area, as well as create new routes to load onto the watch. While it’s not the most accurate mapping tool around, it’s a great feature to have at your fingertips when you’re traveling.
Also new with the 5 is overall fitness level tracking. Based on previous activities, the watch can provide an adaptive 7-day training plan, suggesting workout days and level of activity, and, my favorite part, rest days.
For the price, it’s a great option for people who are looking for a watch with a simple interface and a lot of performance power.